Hawk Migration 2008
Birthday Eagles
November 19, 2008


I spent a few hours of my birthday on Jo Hayes Vista and watched the hawks migrating southward. In addition to the couple of dozen red-tailed hawks and one red-shouldered hawk were five eagles. Five eagles may not be many at most hawkwatch sites, but for me it represented a wonderful occasion. Nothing eclipses an eagle soaring through the sky. Eagles have a regal presence.

The following photos are not my best of eagles, but probably represent the best overall collection for one day.

The first golden eagle of the day flew fairly close to the ridge. I was able to spot him a long ways off, and then there was that wonderfully suspenseful moment when an observer realizes that it has to be an eagle.

golden eagle

The second eagle was somewhat farther away: an adult bald eagle.
adult bald eagle

The third eagle - a golden - was also rather far away.
golden eagle

The fourth eagle (and the third golden) was a tad closer than the previous one, but was interesting in its own way: I took several photos of it flapping. While crossing long distances, eagles seldom flap - they depend on the wind. (Some day animators will pick up on that, but how many animators observe eagles in flight?)
golden eagle flapping

The final eagle of the day was almost the one that got away. I had been using a new camera body for a little over a month (the Pentax K200D), and I suppose I'm not as familiar with it as I should be. Anyway, I inadvertently set the camera on timer. And that meant a 10-second lag between pressing the shutter and the photo being taken. In a calmer situation, there were at least two easy solutions; but neither had occurred to me.

The fourth golden eagle came closer than any of the earlier ones, and I was trying to keep it (manually) in perpetual focus while waiting for the photo to be taken. Consequently, the photo was much less than I would desire, but it is somewhat interesting in its own way. The photo is soft, as in a watercolor, and shows the overall golden eagle coloration fairly well. So here it is.

golden eagle, as in a watercolor

But regardless how well the above photo did or did not come out, I'm bound to remember how to take the K200d off its timer mode. I hope.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC reflex 1000mm lens on November 19, 2008.  

Jacks Mountain Hawkwatch   |   Hawks from early fall 2008

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